For readers like you, in this chapter the hidden knowledge of the Ogham Staves & Justice is explored. And Lilith continues to further her malevolent aims.
Scroll down, sit for a spell and read.
It's great to have you along!
The gusty gales of autumn wind blew. Avril tightened her long black cape. She continued to travel toward her destination. She thought about the unified existence with nature she had through the insights given through her lessons. The natural law of cause and effect: Everything has a cause and, in itself, is a cause of something else. Avril knew there is an interconnectedness of all things. A great ecosystem which works and survives as it cooperates at all levels in all ways and linked.
A cloud of starlings took off from the roof of the coven’s Victorian mansion. The birds flew over Avril’s head and headed for the trees in the forest to roost.
“Merry we meet,” a familiar voice called out.
As Avril moved along the back walkway she quickly looked toward the voice and saw Cortney, Hailey, Corena, Shanna and Hanna, in warm fall wear sitting on the porch steps. “Merry meet,” Avril called back with a quick wave.
Hailey motioned to wave her over. “It’s really great to see you again,” she said with glee.
“It’s a beautiful clear fall day,” Cortney announced.
“Have a seat,” Hailey offered.
“Autumn happen so fast – it seemed that just yesterday the fields were in full bloom,” Avril said, immediately sitting beside Hailey, on the old wood. Her eyes went to Hanna who picked up a hand mirror to view her features. She outlined her lips in a deep red lip liner. In the center area she applied lush, red lipstick.
Cortney stared at Hanna. “Your choice of lip wear is extreme,” she said.
Hanna stopped and faced her.
“Here,” Cortney said handing her a hanky. “I suggest you wipe some off.”
Hanna gave her an odd look. “I think I’m being insulted,” she said, almost defensively. She blotted her lips. “I’m magically enhancing the features of my lips.”
“Cortney smiled briefly. “I know, please don’t take it to heart,” she clarified before moving on. “It takes skill to find and apply the proper color in order to feel and look pretty. The choice of lip color reveals a lot about a maiden.” She looked from Hanna sitting on the step next to Shanna. “Your twin’s choice of shade suggested that she is passionate and wants to look hot and sensual.”
Shanna nodded in agreement.
Cortney looked over at Corena, sitting on the step. “The pink color on your lips is a cooler shade than most. The visual message you send out to others is that you appear aloof, sophisticated and not easily pleased.”
Corena lifted one hand and smooth back her hair with her fingers. “I can go one shade lighter or one shade darker,” she said.
Cortney attention shifted to Hailey. She assessed her. “Your choice of the clear lip gloss left your lips looking moist, healthy and natural,” she said
Hailey glanced over her shoulder where Cortney sat. “I feel the same. Lip shapes play a large role in conveying warmth, approachability and sensuality as well as such qualities as health and age,” she couldn’t resist explaining. “Whether the lips are flat, pointed, rounded or hollowed I can identify different people’s character types by reading the shape and lines.” She turned to Avril. “Avril’s lips are concave. She can be inquisitive, restless and adventurous. You would make a great spy and attract friends easily. You have two distinct sides, tranquility and excitement, as well as complex and serious.”
Hailey looked at Hanna. “Hanna’s lips are in a point. There are sharp angles on both sides. Hanna has no trouble attracting admirers. She is elegant and had good taste. A lover of the finer things in life…a person who is faithful and spiritual.”
“Corena your lips are curved,” Hailey said. “Even though you are loving and affectionate, energetic, creative and talkative, you tend to be a people pleaser. You can be methodical, a hard worker and know what you want out of life. Corena is even-tempered and a good friend.”
Corena smiled. “I make a good peace maker,” she said.
“Cortney, your lips are flat. The shape reflects a straight shooter who is determined, ambitious and reliable. You disliked superficiality and have high morals. Your only character flaw was that you could be impatient.”
Avril chimed in. “How would you describe Lilith and Marley who are missing from the group, by their lip shape?”
Hailey thought about that for a moment, then said, “Lilith’s lips are sharp-angled tips. She is a mover and shaker who loves attention. She is high-strung and knows how to make the most of opportunities when they came her way. And Marley’s lips are slanted. She is a sincere person who is somewhat reserved. She dislikes being the center of attention and likes to live by schedules.”
Corena glanced over at Hailey. “You have them pegged!”
Shanna grinned. “I’m happy to explain that our lips are an organ of perception to feel,” she said. “It means that a touch would send a signal that would be collected, sorted inside the brain to interpret how to react. Superstition dictates that an itchy lip is a sure sign that the owner would shortly receive a kiss.”
Avril laughed lightly. “Good to know,” she said, entering the dwelling. The maidens walked through the kitchen, and quickly up the stairs to the attic. Jezebel jumped in front of Corena and meowed. The black cat’s body curved around her leg. Corena bent down petted the black cat. Her expression darkened. She stood, glancing back over her shoulder and met with Cortney’s eyes. “I, um, guess I will be dealing with Lilith’s nastiness again.”
Cortney shrugged. “We expect Lilith to be a mean witch. It will be okay,” she assured her.
Cortney nodded and mustard up a half smile.
They continued toward the attic. Everyone smiled and greeted Priestess Angelica as they passed her. Avril stepped into the room. She had a clear view of Lilith look at Corena with mild disgust. Avril ignored her. Corena took a deep breath and let it out. She was really tired of Lilith’s behavior.
Shanna turned back to face Corena. “Lilith is just trying to get on your nerves,” she said with out hesitation.
Shanna and Hanna took a seat beside each other. Corena took a seat across from Cortney. Lilith and Marley sat beside Cortney. Avril walked over to where Hailey sat and took a seat beside her.
Priestess Angelica stood at the head of the craft table. “On the Celtic calendar, September 30 to October 27 is the month of the Ivy, ranked a bramble in the Cad Gaddeu, the Battle of the Trees,” she said, beginning the day’s lesson. “The ivy’s element is earth and its personality is both ambitious and lazy - an eager desire for the attainment of honor, fame or power. Has aim and aspiration but is disinclined to exertion - slothful.
GREAT WAS THE GORSE IN BATTLE,
AND THE IVY AT HIS PRIME.
“The Ogmois was a hero God who invented the runic language of the Druids, the Ogham Staves. The Ogham Tree Alaphabet or the Common Ogham is based upon the Cad Goddeu: the Battle of the Trees in 400 BC. Trees bridge the space and time between heaven and earth. Each tree is seen as possessing its own particular personality and life –force. The Ogham symbols are based upon the spiritual properties inherent within the trees. An Ogham symbol is cut into sacred wood with straight lines that are cut across the grain in short upward or downward lines. There are no curve lines in this system and a potent source of learning.
“The Ogham Staves is a scale-format that followed an order of ascension. Each rung stood for a specific character and lesson. There were twenty rungs on this Ladder of learning plus one un-named, in addition to three intermediary ‘Quests of Mastery.”
The Priestess pointed to a medium sized wooden box with the lid opened on the center of the craft table. The maidens listened and didn’t say anything. They leaned over to view twenty different types of wood, sticks of similar size, engraved, that lay on top of black natural fabric. “The symbolism of each stick,” Angelica said, pointing to the Ogham sticks is as follows:
RANK CHARACTER LESSON
OAK strength power
APPLE fertility abundance
ALDER firm foundation security
WILLOW intuition dreams
BIRCH beginnings regeneration
ASPEN mature healing
PINE clarity creation
HAWTHORN resilience courage
YEW immortality re-birth
BLACKTHORN effort persistence
ELDER firm foundations security
IVY relationship loyalty
REED riches prosperity
FURZE transformation change
HEATHER strong emotions passionate feelings
Avril sat quite looking at the supplies on the craft table. She saw there were bundles of different tree twigs, in equal size, with the bark still on, bound together with hemp twine and enough white handle bollines for all.
“Choose a bundle of different twigs, and then strip the bark off each,” the Priestess said. “To enhance the appearance of your Ogham Staves, round the twigs at one end. With your bolline clearly engraved into the wood the appropriate symbol for divination. Mark on one of the twenty Ogham Staves the symbol to symbolize the Sun, logic, reason and leave the other side blank, to represent the Moon. This will give a total of forty different meanings to the Ogham Staves.”
Angelica took her seat at the head of the table. For a while no one spoke, they simply sat, stripped the bark, and then cut the appropriate symbol into the sacred wood. Lilith glanced up at Corena, sitting across from her. She kept her voice low. “I’m certain you took my crochet heart,” she said, laying out her suspicions.
Cortney looked over at Lilith. “Are you still harping on that?”
“I know she’s lying,” she said, her voice low.
Corena stared at Lilith. Even though she could see anger in her eyes, she didn’t say anything, resisting the urge to tell her the truth.
“Would you quit badgering Corena and just make your Ogham sticks,” Cortney said quietly.
Lilith became agitated. She clenched her fists. She wanted to hit Corena in the worst way. “Dimmit, tell me where it is,” she demanded.
Corena looked over at Lilith and frowned. “I told you before I don’t have what you lost,” she whispered.
Lilith scowled. “I know what you said, I just don’t believe you.”
Cortney glanced at her friend, then back at Lilith. “Why would she want your crochet heart?”
“Because my crochet heart possesses unique energy properties,” she snapped testily.
Corena shook her head. “I dare not touch anything crafted by your hands,” she said, raising her voice a little.
Cortney rolled her eyes. “Drop it Lilith,” she said seriously. “No one is surprised you lost you crochet heart.”
Lilith sat upright. “She stole it!”
Cortney didn’t break eye contact with Lilith. “You have no proof Corena took anything from you,” she said in a low voice.
“Maybe I don’t, but I will do everything I can to get it back,” she said through clenched teeth. “Just like she did when Hal cut ties with her.”
Corena looked surprised. “I don’t want Hal.” She paused. “Actually, Hal and I shared something you will never share – friendship.”
Cortney smirked. “If I remember correctly, the magick eight-ball told you Corena didn’t take your useless crochet heart, but you won’t listen.”
Lilith abruptly went silent. She stared in disbelief at Corena and Cortney. Hailey resisted the urge to argue, but it was hard. She looked over at what Avril had whittled. She took stock of the minutest details about in the wood. “Great job,” she murmured.
Avril picked up one of her finished Ogham staves and inspected it. “It’s not as good as yours,” she whispered back. “But it’s still good work.” She laid the stick back down with the others. She picked up her bolline and cut through the wood.
The maidens kept whittling away at their Ogham Staves. The Priestess stood. She came around the craft table and examined each of their Ogham Staves. She smiled at the maidens and said, “I am very pleased with the craftsmanship.”
When the maidens finished crafting their set of Ogham Staves they placed the divination sticks on the window sills to lay in the sunlight to be cleansed and energized. Hanna and Shanna swept the floor of the wood chips. The maidens lent a hand to clear the craft table surface. Lilith, her face and eyes angry sat beside Marley.
Avril watched Angelica remove her A. E. Waite Tarot Deck from the pocket of her robe. She took the protective covering off the deck then slowly sorted through the cards until she found the one desired. Avril eyes turned to the Tarot card the Priestess held up in the air, with her left hand, Justice. “Marley, would you please give a meaning for the yellow background,” she asked politely.
Marley looked at the Priestess. “The color stands for intellect, knowledge and communication,” she replied.
The Priestess turned to face Lilith. “Lilith, would you describe the Pillars of Justice.”
Lilith studied the card for a moment, and then said, “The pillars open into the world of Justice which is veiled so man cannot know for certain the outcome of his destiny.”
“You’re interpretation is correct,” Angelica said pleased. “What is the symbolism for the veil?”
“The veil indicates hidden things or ideas. Only when the veil is penetrated by concentrated impulses on self-conscious levels are the creative activities of the subconscious realized and actualized,” she answered annoyed.
Hailey and Avril looked at one another and raised their eyebrows, surprised at how intelligent Lilith had sounded. Angelica looked at Hanna and asked, “Would you explain the scales?”
“The scales represent equilibrium,” she answered. “Weighing judgment to bring balance.”
The Priestess smiled her approval, and then turned her attention to Shanna. “How would you describe the throne?”
Shanna had a moment of hesitation, studying the tarot card. “The throne the Daughter of the Lord of Truth sits upon represents Royal authority. The throne is made of solid stone that is everlasting. It is a power spot to create harmony and balance opposites,” she answered.
“Corena, would you describe the garment worn.”
Corena looked back at the Priestess. “The robe denotes the well-to-do,” she answered. “It shows her inner self is in control. The color red represents desire and action. The yellow sash around her shoulders and that hung on her chest symbolized intellect, knowledge and communication.”
Angelica nodded her head in agreement. She turned to Cortney gesturing to the tarot card and asked, “What is your definition for the crown?”
Cortney looked at the tarot card between the Priestess’s fingers before meeting her eyes. “The Three Turret Crown signifies the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as the Maiden, Mother and Crone. It represents head, authority and mastery over all. The gold color, soul power and enlightenment rule. The square center is a symbol of Earth and balance. Four square, the solidarity of Earth, material manifestation, order and measurement - foundations, materiality, limitation, the physical world,” she explained.
The Priestess pointed her finger at the sword. “Hailey, what is the influence of the Sword of Truth?
Hailey didn’t answer at once. She was thinking, looking at the tarot card, making her words. “The sword represents the tongue. Words, either destructive or constructive, are involved in the situation. Since the sword is held firm in the hand, it indicates boldness, courage, strife, worry or getting the upper hand. The Daughter of the Lord of Truth has the sword uplifted to represent defense of Justice.” She paused then added, “The swords also represent the rigors of the law. It can mean the elimination of outworn thought forms.”
Avril listened, keeping her eyes on the Tarot card. She noticed no one had explained the foot that peeked out from the bottom of the red robe. She raised her hand.
Angelica shifted her gaze to her. “Yes?”
“The foot meant comprehension; progress was supported by truth, purity and perfection.”
Priestess Angelica smiled. “Very observant of you,” she said, placing the Justice card down on to the craft table surface. She redirected the subject again. “The picture-symbols are psychological tools of discovery. Each holds hidden meanings to open the subconscious. The picture-symbols are used for exploration to trigger the mind to release hidden thoughts. Justice has two aspects, the outer which rules our moral and social life, and the inner which rules our consciousness. Our judgments about ourselves emanate outward. Your judgments determine your actions. Your actions, in turn, determine how others judge you.
“The Justice card speaks of being accountable for one’s past actions whether this is an early life of wrong doings, mistrust, selfishness, greed or egotism, evidence is collected, facts and emotions are expressed, a case is presented and a verdict is reached now. Justice is about confronting self fairly to untangle chaos, co-ordinate and put order and good judgment into life.
“Whatever value you place on your personal experiences will decide how that experience will live within. Your positive or negative judgments cause the boomerang action of Karma. Judgment is based on one’s subjective experiences. The mind provides a code of ethical and appropriate action to reveal one’s simple truth. Justice will always prevail in the end. Have faith, in time we each reap what is sown. Align your thoughts with the highest good of all and you will become a channel for good actions. Justice will triumph because order reins throughout the universe. Justice must be the highest equilibrium, balance, the Law of cause and effect. Everything has a cause and, in itself, is a cause of something else, an interconnectedness of all things, a piece connected to the whole, impacted and influenced, on the whole.
“To build the mind with good thoughts, give understanding and be conscious of words, emotions and actions. Whatever you give you will receive every time.”
The Priestess pushed her chair back from the craft table. She rose to her feet. She retrieved a small black iron cauldron, resting on three legs and the magick ingredients needed from the shelf. The maidens watched her place the ancient vessel in the center of the table. “The cauldron is container in which magickal transformations occur,” she explained. Inside, she affixed small beeswax, black candle. She took a pinch of dried sage leaves from the wooden bowl. She crumbled dried sage leaf power clockwise around the candle. Then she handed each of the maidens a white square piece of paper and black ink. “Write on the paper that Justice be done concerning a problem or dilemma,” she instructed. “Before you fold the piece of white paper into a triangle, you will sprinkle a pinch of dried sage leaf powder into the crease.”
The maidens remained silent, watching the Priestess light the wick of the black candle. The flame flew straight up into the air, and then settled. She lit the sage powder inside the cauldron to remove any and all negativity from their space. The learning space was silent. “With deep breath and meditation clear your mind and a make a connection with the light from the candle,” she told the maidens. “Close your eyes and pray that Justice would be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The maidens sat in silent contemplation for the best outcome where justice would be served. Avril opened her eyes and looked around. She glanced over at Lilith emanating negative energy. Lilith had strange, mesmerizing eyes on Corena, who was completely unaware that Lilith was casting the evil-eye at her. Avril thought, “Lilith’s animosity and anger, her vengeance against Corena made no sense. Corena did nothing wrong.”
“Thank you,” she said.
Looking away, Avril said, “You’re welcome.”
The spells completed, Angelica allowed the candle to burn itself out. A billow of white smoke rose from the open mouth of the black cauldron. Like the formless plasm of a ghost. “Before you’re excused for afternoon meal,” Angelica announced. “On October 31, to celebrate Samhain, the coven will hold the festivities. There will be prizes for best costume, pumpkin carving and much more. Start designing your craft work now because the clock is ticking, the season is changing, and time will fly by and it would be a shame to see you unprepared for such a great event.”
“The bay leaf predicted correctly,” Hanna said, raising her voice above the giggles of her sister-friends as they raced down the stairs.